A German research team have questionned close to 20,000 people and found that eating a moderate amount of chocolate a day reduces the risk of heart disease and suffering from heart attacks and strokes.
The study, published in the European Health Journal, started in 1994 where 19,357 people aged between 35 and 65 had their blood pressure, height and weight measured and were asked to complete a health and diet question, one question asking how they would eat a 50g bar of chocolate - in one go or a square of chocolate a day.
Since 1994 the German researchers ask the participants to complete a new questionnaire and also asked the group whether they had suffered from a heart attack or stroke.
The study found that eating 6g of chocolate a day reduced the risk of having a heart attack or stroke by 39 percent.
While doctors and diet experts have previously warned that eating large amounts of chocolate can result in weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease, the German study has shown that eating small amounts of chocolate has benefits. Some suggest that Flavonols found in chocolate help to widen blood vessels, which can lead to a drop in blood pressure and the work undertaken by the heart. Interesting Flavonols are also found in red wine and vegetables, which too have been found to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes in other studies.
The authors of the research paper suggested that if non-chocolate eaters began to eat a piece of chocolate a day it would result in 85 less people in every 10,000 suffering from heart attacks or strokes with 10 years.